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214          MY    COUNTRY    AND    MY    PEOPLE

best of the scholars corresponded to the scientist type of Europe,
with the same scientific devotion to learning and capacity for
drudgery, although often without the scientific technique, and
their works lacked the Western lucidity of style and cogent
reasoning.    For   old   Chinese   scholarship   meant   immense
drudgery, a prodigious learning and an almost superhuman
memory, made possible only by a lifelong devotion to learning.
There were scholars who could repeat Ssuma Ch'ien's volu-
minous History from beginning to end, for without an index
system man had to trust to his store of memory.   In fact,
easily located knowledge which could be found in any encyclo-
paedia was rather looked down upon, and good scholars did
not need encyclopaedias.  We had many such walking encyclo-
paedias in flesh and blood.   And after all, when it came to
digging up original sources, it did not matter in the old scheme
of life whether one found them at a moment's notice or after
wasting a whole day.   The English nobility used to spend a
whole day on a fox-hunt, and did not enjoy it the less, and
Chinese scholars found the same excitement in "scenting" their
game, the same disappointment after finding a red herring
and the same joy when they had tracked the fox to its lair. In
this spirit, monumental works were produced by individual
scholars, like the encyclopaedias of Ma Tuanlin or Cheng
Gh'iao, or the etymological dictionary of Chu Chiinsheng, or
the Shuowen Commentary of Tuan Yiits'ai. In the beginning of
the Manchu Period, the scholar Ku Yenwu, in his research on
Chinese cultural geography, used to travel with three carts of
books,   and  whenever he found  discrepancies  in  material
evidences or contradicting stories from old people from whom
he collected first-hand data, he would check them in his books.
Such quest for knowledge was in spirit no different from the
labours of Western scientists.   There were certain fields in
Chinese learning which offered an opportunity for painstaking
and disciplined research.   Such fields were, for instance, the
evolution of the Chinese script (shuowen), the history of Chinese
sounds, the emendation of ancient texts, the restoration of lost
texts from quotations, the study of ancient rites, customs,
ceremonials, architecture and costumes, the verification of
names of animals and fishes in the classics, the study of bronze,